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Nov 6

X-Force #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are from the digital edition. And really, this does contain spoilers.

X-FORCE: This is the sixth volume of X-Force. The first ran from 1991 to 2002 and covered the adventures of the New Mutants after Cable restructured them into a more paramilitary group (and then turned into X-Statix near the end). The second was a six-issue reunion mini from 2004-5. The third is the Kyle/Yost run from 2008-10, where X-Force was reused as the name for the X-Men’s black ops unit during the Utopia era; it was followed by another 35 issues as Uncanny X-Force. Volume 4 was the Marvel Now version from 2014-15 (the Si Spurrier book with Cable, Psylocke, Fantomex and the like). And the fifth volume is the run with the teen Cable that came immediately before House of X.

The running theme in all this is that “X-Force” tends to be attached to an X-Men spin-off team which is either a black ops unit or takes a more paramilitary approach to matters than the regular X-Men. This first issue, however, doesn’t actually feature an X-Force team at all, or even many characters doing anything particularly X-Force-like. Presumably all that emerges over the course of the first arc. But it does take a much grimmer tone than any of the other Krakoa-era books.

Oct 31

Excalibur #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are from the digital edition.

EXCALIBUR: This is the fourth volume of Excalibur. The first volume ran from 1988 to 1998 and featured a British-based superhero team initially made up of Captain Britain, Meggan and some X-Men who had been separated from the main team (Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Rachel Summers / Phoenix). It tended to go in for lighter antics than the rest of the X-books. The second volume is a largely-forgotten four-issue reunion miniseries from 2001. The third ran for 14 issues in 2004-5, and involved Professor X rebuilding in the ruins of post-massacre Genosha; aside from being an X-book, it really has no connection with the previous series. There’s also New Excalibur, another UK-based team, which ran for 24 issues in 2006-7.

This version of Excalibur features no members of the previous teams; the connection lies in Psylocke, Captain Britain’s sister.

COVER / PAGE 1: The team pose for us. Left to right, that’s Gambit, Jubilee, Apocalypse, Psylocke / Captain Britain II, Rictor (who doesn’t appear in the story) and Rogue. The background seems to be Krakoa, but in the foreground is what looks like the Otherworld scrying pool from the issue.

Oct 24

Marauders #1 – annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post features spoilers, and page numbers are based on the digital edition. And no, I’m not planning to do these for every issue of all the new titles, but the first issues of each seem worth a look.

MARAUDERS: It’s first time we’ve had a series of this title. In the context of the X-Men, the Marauders are Mr Sinister’s henchmen, who first appeared in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #210 (1986) and committed the mass murder of the Morlocks. The original Marauders – or a bunch of them, at any rate – were last seen in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #18 (2019), where they all died fighting the X-Men. In the meantime, this book seems to have no connection to the team whose name is clearly being evoked, and going back to the literal sense of marauding, which would fit with the piracy angle (though not so much the rescuing bit).

COVERS: The regular cast on their boat (whether they’re actually aboard it in this issue or not).

Oct 17

X-Men #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are going by the digital edition.

X-MEN: This is the fifth volume of just-plain-X-Men, although confusingly the legacy numbering continues from the last run of Uncanny X-Men.

COVER (PAGE 1): The residents of the Summers House (plus the visiting Corsair) in the Blue Area of the Moon. More of that inside.

PAGES 2-3: A flashback to Charles Xavier giving Scott Summers a pair of ruby quartz glasses to control his optic beams. It’s a metaphor for Xavier giving Scott the confidence to embrace what makes him superhuman, of course – plus, there’s a parallel being drawn with the leader of Orchis, Killian Devo, but we’ll come to that. Scott’s visor can be seen sitting on a stand in the corner of the room.